Olga Lundysheva

Old Uyghur translation of the History of Kuchean kings:
A newly found fragment of an Old Turkic Brāhmī manuscript

(62nd Meeting Friedensau, 2019)

The Uyghur people who lived in IX-XIV cc. in the oases of the Tarim River basin north of the Taklamakan desert in nowadays Xinjiang (Chinese Turkestan) were to some extent influenced by Tocharians (indigenous people of these areas). This influence was felt most starkly in the religious (Buddhist) and literary context. Some important Old Turkic Buddhist texts were translated from Tocharian as well as one of the scriptsused by Uyghurs for manuscript writing, so-called Old Turkic Brāhmī, developed based on Tocharian Brāhmī.

Old Turkic Brāhmī manuscripts are comparatively rare, and most of them are already published. There is a newly found Old Uighur manuscript fragment on Old Turkic Brāhmī from the Serindian collection of The Institute of Oriental manuscripts, Saint-Petersburg, Russia (preliminary transliteration and identification were made with the kind help of Prof. Dieter Maue). There are grounds for supposing that this fragment is a translation of a Tocharian text dedicated to the History of Kuchean kings. Kucha was a part of the Qocho Uyghurs kingdom. So the interest of Uyghurs to the history of this area is obvious. The report would focus on the comparison of the old Uighur and Tocharian texts as well as questions of palaeography.